Honor Flight Southern Arizona
Arizona has two (2) regional hubs serving the entire state. Honor Flight Southern Arizona serves those veterans living in southern part of the state, while our sister hub, Honor Flight Arizona, serves those veterans living in central and northern Arizona. Honor Flight Southern Arizona started as a national hub of the Honor Flight Network in April of 2011, and received 501(c) 3 status on March 9th 2011. We fly out of Tucson International Airport.
Like all the national hubs, we sign up veterans living in this area and send them to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials that have been built in their honor. There is no cost to the veteran. Honor Flight Southern Arizona receives no government assistance; private donations fund each veteran’s flight.
Honor Flight Network
Credit Earl Morse, a retired Air Force Captain for the birth of Honor Flight. When the National WWII Memorial was dedicated in 2004, Earl was working as a physician’s assistant at the VA Hospital in Springfield, Ohio. Many of his patients were WWII veterans. Most of them had not heard that a memorial had been built, and none had been there. He asked several of his veteran patients if they would like to go, they answered yes, some in tears. But many did not have the means or physical ability to make the trip. Earl was determined to find a way to get them there at no cost.
In addition to being a physician assistant, Earl was also a private pilot and a member of one of our nation’s largest aero clubs located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He started asking for help from other pilots to make his dream a reality. In January of 2005, Earl addressed about 150 members of the aero club during a safety meeting, outlining a volunteer program to fly veterans to their memorial. There were two major stipulations to his request. The first was that the veterans pay nothing. The entire aircraft rental would have to be paid solely by the pilots. The second was that the pilots personally escort the veterans around DC for the entire day.
After Earl spoke, eleven pilots stepped forward to volunteer. And Honor Flight was born.
The inaugural Honor Flight took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, D.C. In August of 2005, an ever-expanding waiting list of veterans led our transition to commercial airline carriers with the goal of accommodating as many veterans as possible. Partnering with HonorAir in Hendersonville, North Carolina, they formed the "Honor Flight Network." Today, HFN continues to work aggressively to expand the program(s) to other cities across the nation.